Egyptian cinema, the first truly African film industry, was dominated by Misr Studios, which exported forty films a year and specialised in melodramas that, in contrast to the colonial or Hollywood forms of the genre, presumed a collective and unchallengeable fatality.
Meanwhile, in the background stands the third figure in the triangle, an older woman, "an affectionate and tiresome shadow" WH with whom Joana's lover lives. He might perhaps suddenly wake up and call out: who is this woman? The lover suddenly and conveniently disappears, for reasons his long farewell note fails to explain.
In this grim narrative pact, the author's "victory" over her audience becomes exploitative. Fromin collaboration with his brother Emil, he construct- 15 Early German Cinema ed an ingenious if inelegant double projection apparatus which he patented in under the name of 'Bioskop.
He knows how to spend money with flair. Her wish for privacy about this matter was preserved by her family: her tombstone does not register the date of her birth, only that of her death.
But the 'new' film history is also a cultural ethnography, asking what modes of perception and cognition the films first relied on or simulated in their audiences; what other media were drawn into the struggle for the cine- rna's 'right to be,' and thus what social places and public spaces movie-going helped to transform.
To put this another way, some traditions are self-defining and self-promoting, others the result of a critical decision to treat disparate films as a body. This theatrical or reflexive element surfaces in a variety of ways in expressionist and expressionist-influenced films.
For all of its wildly carnivalesque trappings, dark images and repressive topography, then, Waxworks too seems ready to draw back from any subversive implications, to treat its narrative forebodings as little more than dark humour, a joke on both the writer who has drifted off to sleep and the filmgoers who have similarly drifted into this dream of a movie.
It is, however, this very appropriation of Lispector, within a rhetoric that celebrates and imitates Lispector's nurturing, nonappropriative gaze, that I wish to point to and question.
Intellectual achievement and education lose much of their prestige and appeal when a diploma offers no assurance of a job after graduation, and when the great majority cannot afford higher education in any case.